Button Batteries: The Tiny, Shiny Hazard at Home
Car remotes. Game controllers. Musical greeting cards. These are just a few of the many things around our homes that use button batteries. But these tiny little power sources contain toxic chemicals, and if swallowed they can badly burn the body in as little as 15 minutes of contact. It’s important to know which items have these batteries so you can keep them out of your kids’ mouths.
- Look around your home for button battery-controlled items like remote controls, musical greeting cards, watches, thermometers, calculators, key fobs, and flameless or tea light candles. Whenever possible, keep these items out of your child’s sight and reach.
- Make sure the battery compartments are secure. For battery compartments that do not require a screwdriver to open, use duct tape to keep them from becoming loose or batteries from falling out.
- Store any loose batteries in a locked cabinet or up and away.
- Talk to caregivers. Anyone who spends time with your child should know about the risks of batteries.
- If a child has swallowed a button battery, they might vomit, have a fever, lose interest in eating or drinking and feel throat pain.
- Sometimes symptoms aren’t obvious. Many kids continue to breathe and act normally after swallowing a button battery—it may just seem like your child has a cold or flu.
- If a child has put a button battery inside their ear or nose, they might develop a fever and feel irritable. Their ears or nose may feel painful and swollen, and they might drain fluid.
- Sometimes there are no symptoms. If you suspect your child has ingested a battery, go to the ER immediately. Don’t force your child to vomit, and don’t feed them any food or liquids.
- An X-ray is the only way to confirm that the battery is in the child's body, and getting the battery out is the only way to stop further injury.
- For more information, call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 202-625-3333 or the Poison Help number at 1-800-222-1222.
Each year in the U.S., more than 2,800 kids are treated in ERs after swallowing button batteries. That’s 1 child every 3 hours.
- Safe Kids Worldwide
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